The Redemption of Lydia Wickham

Written by MJ Stratton.

Hello to all, and welcome back! The summer ended, sadly but what a summer it has been! I can only recommend a late summer holiday away from home. But today I am hosting MJ Stratton, and her upcoming book, “The Redemption of Lydia Wickham” I am intrigued, it is not often, Lydia is redeemed within variations. But I am intrigued and hopeful. I wish MJ Stratton luck with her new book. I will leave you in MJ’s hands and allow you to read about this book.

BLURB FOR THE REDEMPTION OF LYDIA WICKHAM: 

I may not be the most book-learned girl in the country, but I would like to think that I am wiser than I was, and much less silly.

Lydia Wickham used to think herself rather clever, having caught a handsome man and being the first to marry of her sisters. Soon, however, she finds herself trapped in a marriage to a man who is not what she thought him to be. Her pride keeps her from revealing her plight to her sisters and family, suffering in silence for years.

Unexpectedly, Lydia is freed from her marriage and begins life away from her misery in Newcastle. The changes in her are apparent to most, but there are those that resist seeing her for who she is and not who she was. As Lydia seeks to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become, she reunites with her loved ones and makes many friends along the way. But will Lydia get what she always wanted? Will she have what her sisters have, that which she craves desperately? Will Lydia Wickham find love of her own?

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is a full length novel centered on the idea that even a foolish 16 year old girl can grow up and become wiser.

Warning: this book contains brief, non-graphic mentions of spousal abuse and assault

I am definitely intrigued and can’t wait to have time to further read this book! Lydia sounds like she has potenial for a future, without Wickham.

AUTHOR BIO;

MJ Stratton grew up in a small town in rural Utah, moving back in 2021 after being away for ten years. Her love of Jane Austen was born at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Her first ever exposure to JAFF was watching Lost in Austen as a teen. MJ recently left her teaching job to be at home with her four children, and hopefully pursue her passion for writing more fully. After feeding her love of books by editing and beta reading for years, she hopes to commit more fully to penning her own stories. MJ loves food, growing things, and the quiet of the countryside. You can find MJ on Facebook and Amazon.

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/Author-MJ-Stratton-100323982797308

Amazon Link: amazon.com/author/mjstratton

!!SNEAK PEAK!!

Working Title: Mr. Wickham Intervenes

Chapter One

June 1, 1804

Northmore Estate, Wiltshire

19 year old George Wickham was rather enjoying his time at Viscount Northmore’s estate. The summer weather was beautiful, the sport marvelous, and, best of all, he was having the time of his life on someone else’s coin. George had met the viscount at Cambridge at the beginning of his first term at Cambridge. After being tormented for years at Eton, even with Darcy’s protection, it was a nice change for a peer to be paying him some attention. Darcy had been his only friend through their years in school up until last term. Now George had been invited to spend the summer at Northmore with the viscount and several other friends. Yes, things were truly looking up.

The door to the salon opened and a footman entered. “For you, sir,” said the stiff-lipped servant, as he handed the envelope in his hand to George. 

Immediately, George’s curiosity piqued. This was an express. No one he knew would send him such a missive…He tore it open, reading rapidly before collapsing in the chair.

George,

Your father fell ill 3 weeks ago with a spring cold. He has been unable to recover and it has moved to his chest. We do not expect him to last through the summer. Enclosed are some funds to see you home to Pemberley,

G Darcy

George reread the missive in his hands many times, barely daring to breathe. His father? No. The man was a tower of strength. He had fallen from a ladder and broken his leg 5 years ago. The doctors had all claimed he would never walk again, yet 6 months later the man had been about his business as the Darcy’s steward as if nothing had happened. Surely Mr. Darcy was mistaken. 

Not that it mattered. He would be on the next post coach home, if at all possible. George refused to risk the chance that he would not be present if his father passed.

He gathered his thoughts, and strode out to find the viscount. There were voices coming from the library, and George assumed that was where the rest of the gentlemen in the party were. As he approached the door, he happened to hear his name. He stopped outside, interested to hear what was being said.

“Come now, Northmore!” Lord James Rutherford said loudly. “What do you see in Wickham? He’s the son of a steward! Hardly a gentleman and definitely not worth your time!”

“I concede that point, James,” Northmore said. “Wickham is a useful fellow. He is passingly good at cards and willing to do just about anything to keep my patronage.”

“So he is a lapdog?” said Marcus Hawthorn, heir to a baronetage. 

“Very much so,” Northmore said. “Obviously he will not be in our circles once university is complete, but for now, I do not mind having him around. Besides, it is a connection to the Darcys, tenuous though it is.”

“Ha!” guffawed James. “In that you are correct. We know old Darcy favors him. Young Fitzy is too much of a stuck up prig to get close to. I hardly know anyone else in our set that is at Cambridge to actually learn.”

The three laughed uproariously at their humor. George stood just outside the doorway, equal parts angry and dismayed. He had thought he was accepted in the group based on his own merits; that besides his lack of fortune and breeding, those of the first circles had seen his value and sought to cultivate his friendship because of that. To find out he had been acquired due to his connections to the Darcys was appalling. For a brief moment, he wondered if this was what Darcy felt like all the time.

George retreated a few feet and then made a show of entering the room loudly, stopping the conversation. “Gentlemen,” he said in greeting. “Northmore, I have received an express and am required at home immediately,” he said. 

Northmore’s apparent concern would have seemed genuine if George had not just heard their discussion. “Nothing terribly wrong, I hope?” he said.

George swallowed tightly. “My father is ill,” he said mildly, trying his hardest to hide his distress. 

Northmore’s response was lukewarm. “Oh, well,” he said, “I do hope that all is resolved shortly. ‘Tis a pity that your holiday has been cut short.”

Nothing about being sad he was going. No distress at his news. George felt as if the world had been laid bare before him. He was not wanted here. And so, he bowed succinctly at that comment and excused himself to pack. He was on the next post coach back to Pemberley, determined to forego all comforts until he was at his father’s side.

GIVEAWAY!

MJ Stratton is also offering a giveaway on her book, “Redemption of Lydia Wickham” in ebook format, so international guests can be included. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/af643a381/?

Mr Darcy’s Phoenix by Lari O’Dell

Hello all and welcome back to my desk, this time around I have Lari and her new book, “Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix” on the docket. It was a magical and fantastical story, full of magic and magical creatures within the beloved story of Pride and Prejudice.

BLURB;

A phoenix brings them together. Will a curse keep them apart?

When the hauntingly beautiful song of a phoenix lures Elizabeth Bennet to the Netherfield gardens, she has a vision of an unknown gentleman. He whispers her name with such tenderness that she wonders if this man is her match. Unfortunately, her gift of prophecy has never been exactly reliable.

Mr. Darcy is a celebrated fire mage, the master of Pemberley, and the man from her vision. But he is not tender; he is haughty, proud, and high-handed. His insult of her during the Summer Solstice celebration makes her determined to dislike him in spite of her love for Dante, his phoenix familiar.

After Mr. Darcy is called away by his duties, Elizabeth’s magic runs wild, and it is only their reunion at Rosings that offers her any hope of controlling it. They are drawn together by their love of magical creatures and their affinity for fire. But Elizabeth soon has another vision about Mr. Darcy, one that may portend a grave danger to his life.

Can Darcy and Elizabeth overcome misunderstandings, curses, and even fate itself?

REVIEW;

A P&P fantasy variation- a fairy tale – a drama. 

All the best elements of P&P was incorporated, though our beloved characters have affinities for elements of magic like nature, fire, water and so on. It was a pleasure to read, and the tempo was good, and you couldn’t put the book down! It only took me twenty four hours reading this variation. It had the vibe of Harry Potter, Outlander and Twitches and I loved every moment of it! 

The first time we meet Elizabeth Bennet is when she encounters Dante, the Phoenix belonging to the Darcy family, where we see the first glimpse of a possible HEA. 

The Bennet family is different from other variations I have read, which means Lydia, Kitty and Mary have very little to do with the plot, as they are learning their abilities at a magic academy in London. 

At the summer solstice assembly, we are introduced to the Bingleys, Hursts and Darcy. As always Darcy trips over his tongue and ends up insulting Elizabeth. But we also learn he possess the fire element in his magic and has to be in control constantly.

Throughout the story, we are introduced to the wonders of magical creatures, – from unicorns to minotaur, nymphs and elves with many more.  

During the plot, which includes lots and lots of drama, we see potions, curses, cursed apples, enchantments and a magical sword in which our beloved characters have to use to battle evil. In the plot, Collins also appears and what a lot of laughter his visit prompted within me as I read. 

The ending had the vibe of a fairy tale, and reminded me a bit about Sleeping Beauty and a bit of Hercules from Disney’s versions. But what an amazing book! It was fantastic and so good! I can only recommend this magical journey within the pages and imagination of Lari.

AUTHOR BIO;

Lari Ann O’Dell first discovered her love of Pride & Prejudice when she was eighteen. After reading a Pride & Prejudice variation she found in a closing sale at a bookstore, she said, “This is what I want to do.” She published her first novel, Mr. Darcy’s Kiss, two years later.

Born and raised in Colorado, she attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing. After graduating college, she wrote and published her second novel, Mr. Darcy’s Ship. Her third novel, Mr. Darcy’s Clan, is her first supernatural variation, and she is working on two more fantasy variations. She is now back at school and pursuing a degree in Nursing. She adores her three beautiful nephews, Hudson, Dean, and Calvin. She enjoys reading, singing, and writes whenever she can. 

BUY INFO;

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B8DRQJC7    

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B8DRQJC7

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

So everyone, good luck and hurry to get this amazing book!

Lari O’Dell is giving away 4 eBook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Phoenix. The giveaway is worldwide and will end at midnight central time, September 1st.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b53/?

Kiss me goodnight, Major Darcy

Welcome back everyone!

A WWII novel, well not my cup of tea, normally, but this time around I was intrigued. A P&P WWII book, well that had promise! And what a promise indeed, a romance in the midst of a war that changed the world and its outlook. Will this war also change Elizabeth and Jane and their destinies to meet two certain men – who will steal their hearts? I let you, lovely readers guess at the ending and how this book puts our beloved Darcy and Elizabeth on each other’s path.

Today I am hosting Georgina Young-Ellis and her WWII P&P variation. I am so excited to host this blog tour and be part of this new book’s life. Normally I wouldn’t call WWII novels my cup of tea, but this sounded amazing, and from what I have read so far, I am impressed. As long as Darcy and Elizabeth are the main couple, I am a fan. I am looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks of this book along the blog tour.

BOOK COVER;

The wind ruffled Darcy’s hair. “You’re beautiful.”

Happiness surged through Elizabeth’s body like electricity. This moment was as close to perfection as she had ever known.

1943. World War II has torn the continent since 1939 and tested families, the Bennets included. Elizabeth and Jane nurse wounded soldiers and civilians in a London hospital. The other sisters volunteer as best suits their inclinations. Mr. Bennet rattles about Longbourn. Wickham sniffs about the edges of the estate—and the Bennet daughters.

Even the ever-present threat of death from the skies cannot prepare Jane and Lizzy for the most devastating news. The words one never wishes to hear are delivered by two officers, each scarred by years on the front lines. In the dark days that follow, devotion is tested, and affection blooms.

Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy drops Jane Austen’s timeless characters into the midst of the most horrific conflict in human history. Their trail twists and encounters those who would turn sacrifice to their profit. Follow the women of Longbourn as they navigate the rocks and shoals of wartime Great Britain to endure misunderstandings and discover lasting love.

We have all been lucky enough to get a look into the book, since Georgina has kindly let me enter an excerpt for us all to read! So enjoy!

EXCERPT;

Although her waltz with Darcy was still fresh in her mind, an older memory stirred her. Elizabeth recalled how well he had danced when they had partnered together last April. Had nearly a year gone by since then? He held out his hand, and she took it. They sailed onto the dance floor and moved flawlessly together to the music. She looked up into his eyes, and there was that expression. What does it mean?

Purposely to break the spell, Elizabeth asked him, “What do you hear from your aunt?”

He chuckled. “She is well, as she always is. The woman is made of steel.”

Digging deeper, she went on. “I was surprised that you had chosen to visit her with the little time off you had last autumn. You don’t seem that close to her or Miss de Bourgh.”

His expression took on a certain nonchalance. “On the contrary, we are as close as one might expect. And anyway, Kent is as pleasant a place as any to enjoy one’s leave.”

She narrowed her eyes playfully. “I sense there’s something you’re not telling me.”

“All right I’ll come clean,” he replied, smiling. “Bingley told me you were in Kent. Jane mentioned to him that you were going to visit your friend Charlotte. I just felt like, I don’t know, we had left things awkwardly when I saw you last spring at the dance, and I wanted you to know my feelings toward you were still friendly. I didn’t want you to think there was animosity.”

The way he had been looking at her tonight made her think that his feelings might be more than just “friendly.”

“No matter,” she said with a smile, and the subject was dropped.

They continued dancing through several songs until Elizabeth became overheated. Her wool dress was suitably warm for the weather but too hot for such exercise.

Observing his partner’s flushed face, Darcy said, “Would you like to step outside for a moment? It might be refreshing.”

“Yes, let’s!” she replied.

They walked out onto the terrace, and she was able, by the monochromatic light of the moon, to view the designs of the immense gardens. Everything green became shades of gray. “How beautiful it must have been.”

“It was,” Darcy said. “It will be again.” He turned to her. “You’re not too cold?”

“No. The air feels good.”

“It feels good to be here with you,” Darcy said. “Elizabeth…”

She looked up at him.

“I lied,” he whispered.

She was surprised to hear him say such a thing. “About what?”

“About Kent. Yes, Bingley did tell me you were going to be there, but I didn’t go just to show you I wanted to be friends. I went because I wanted to be near you. I wanted to see you. I felt—feel—drawn to you.” He was standing very close. He placed a finger under her chin, lifted her face to him, and kissed her. His lips were soft and cool. She gave into him and then, remembering herself, pulled away.

“I’m sorry, Elizabeth,” he said. “I don’t mean to be forward. Perhaps I have no right.” Before she could reply, he hurried on. “It’s just that, I have thought of you so very often. Every time there has been a moment to think of anything but war, you are the first thing that comes into my head. Your image has been in my mind ever since I first saw you. Your sparkling brown eyes, your lovely smile, your beautiful face. I’ve never felt this way about anyone.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying I love you.”

Her knees went weak. She wished she could say the same thing back to him, but she was not ready—not just yet.

“I’ve been too bold,” he rushed to say. “Maybe I shouldn’t have said it. But, with the war still raging, who knows how much longer I’ll have to wait to speak these truths, to say what’s in my heart and mind.” He gazed at her. His eyes pleaded for her to say what he wanted to hear.

She looked down for a moment, then back up at him. “I don’t think…I don’t think war is a good enough excuse to rush into saying something one doesn’t mean.”

“Are you saying I don’t mean it? Or you couldn’t mean it?” His voice was soft. He took her hand.

She let it remain there. “Fitzwilliam, I’m flattered but, the truth is, I don’t feel we know each other well enough for you to know whether you love me or not. Or for me to know. War time or not.”

“I know my mind. I know how I feel. Do you love me too, Elizabeth?” He gently pressed her hand to his heart.

She could sense the warmth of his body beneath her palm. Speaking was becoming difficult. “I don’t know,” she finally said.

GIVEAWAY;

YAY! A giveaway, a chance to win this amazing book! Please hurry and join, to get your chance to win this book!

Meryton Press is giving away six eBooks of Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy by Georgina Young-Ellis.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGNhODZiOWI4ODNmNDRkMjQ1ZDA5MDg0NTQ1MWExOjUx/?

ACTOR BIO;

Georgina lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Jon, who is an artist and professor of Media Arts. In 2015, they moved from New York City, where they lived for eighteen years, to Portland Oregon. Their son, a professional musician and sound engineer, still lives in Brooklyn. Georgina is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and was a stage actress for many years. Born and raised in the Southwest, she went to school in New York, graduating from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. She’s also a language professor and, of course, a writer, recently graduating from Portland State University with a master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature. In 2022 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to identify and connect with emerging female writers in Mexico and support them to free their literary voices.

BUY OPTIONS;

Here you can buy this book, from the universal links.

Amazon Universal Link – getbook.at/kissmegoodnight

 or

Amazon Universal Link  

Congratulations to Georgina Ellis-Younge on her new book, and to say we are all excited and impressed is definitely the truth. I will leave you for this time, and promise I will return shortly with further reviews, blog tours and news. This is Sophia signing off from her desk and blog for this time around. Be safe and enjoy your summers.

Camp Jane by Susan Andrews

Hello to all! Welcome back to my desk, this time I have read a wonderful book by Susan Andrews, her intro book “Camp Jane” the first in a series.

Review

Me opening this book was kind of accidental, since I was missing something to read and remembered I had one book waiting – and that started me on the Camp Jane journey at close to midnight. Near dawn, I was still reading and laughing my head off into my pillow at the many hilarious and utterly engaging conversations between the characters. Susan was clever and gave us a chart of the characters, who they are in real life and who they play at Camp Jane.

The opening scene takes place at LaGuardia Airport, during quite a downpour, where Maggie, our lead, meets several characters who will become her best friends during the magical summer ahead of her. Here most females will likely agree with me that men are a bit helpless, or well these particular men are, hehe!

“Camp Jane” answered all my fondest dreams for a book about a Jane Austen camp and made me want to go or wish for a Camp Jane in real life! The conversations were hilarious and very relatable. The characters were also spot on and made me feel like I was with friends! The fight with the giggles was deeply needed and highly appreciated!

Several characters surprised me, including a hilarious Henry Tilney, who quickly became a favourite as a best friend/buddy for our lead Maggie. The experience as a reader felt like I was part of the plot and just waiting to take my place within the LaGGards. I will admit to wanting to take my place with Maggie (Lizzie), Jerri (Jane), Henry (Henry Tilney), Will (Darcy) and Casey (Bingley). They just seemed like the kind of people I would befriend personally.

We follow the group of friends quite closely during their first week at Camp Jane and how they learn etiquette, dance and the other Regency accomplishments. I found it quite amusing that Maggie had trouble with how to address titled persons and her way of getting it right.

It was delightful to follow our LaGGard group around Pemberley, Longbourn, Highbury, London and Bath. I fell in love with lovely though shy Anne Elliot, dreamy Captain Wentworth and hilarious Henry Tilney. It felt like I was with my best friend throughout the book, and it was an absolute hoot! I felt like I was part of the plot, and I had a party reading the book, though it made me miss my friends abroad and yet made me look forward to the festival in Bath.

There was quite a bit of drama, surprise and a growing fondness for the many characters, and I will admit to “being quite put out” when the book ended. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series. Congratulations, Susan!

Until next time, everyone 😃 Please comment and share about this wonderful and hilarious book.

The Barrister’s Bride

Hello to all! And welcome back to my desk and I am glad and proud to welcome Suzan Lauder and her new book, “The Barrister’s Bride” – A book I have eagerly awaited and consumed with pleasure! Enjoy learning more of this book! Btw there’s a review and a Giveaway! Good luck!

BLURB;

A pact that will change their lives forever…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a successful young barrister with a bright future. His late uncle has guided his career, made him his heir, and even selected a bride for him—sight unseen—whom he’ll meet and marry upon her majority. Who could have predicted that making the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Meryton would throw those careful plans into disarray?

Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t know what to make of “Fitz” Darcy, who intrigues and draws her notice like no other. Despite Fitzwilliam’s warnings, she allows Mr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s older brother and master of Pemberley, to charm her. Little does she know that she, too, has been promised in marriage by her late father—to an unknown barrister, no less. What is she to do when her hopes to marry for love disappear in the blink of an eye?

Is George Darcy’s suit in earnest? Can this mysterious bridegroom of her father’s choosing become the husband of her dreams? With the danger of duels and deceit, what will come of the initial attraction between her and Fitzwilliam? Will she become the barrister’s bride?

Note: contains scenes with adult content.

REVIEW;
It all starts with a pact between two men, and the lives of two young people are forever changed. I was surprised when I opened the cover of this book, but I knew it could only be good since it was a much-respected author whose books I have read several times.
The pact between the two men leads to the change of circumstance for Fitzwilliam Darcy, second son, – and Elizabeth Bennet, second daughter.
In the beginning, I did not know what to make of the plot. I then remembered that Suzan does tend to draw the reader in with clever conversations and an engaging story. The further I got into the book, my understanding of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth, and even George Darcy, the elder Darcy sibling, became better. Two of the characters I could see had a possible future ahead of them together. George Darcy was pure and simple a rake. But I know that the very idea of actually liking or not liking a character is what makes an author so very great.
I admit to facepalming myself several times while reading since George Darcy does not seem to get his mistakes throughout the book. It made me think, “And you are supposed to be the elder and the heir!” Yikes!

But omg, there was lots of drama for our beloved couple made by their elders creates the most, but then the villain we all love to hate makes quite a problem between the couple who finally have realised their deeper feelings for each other. But I also loved the way Suzan wrote Fitzwilliam. I loved him and how serious he is and how he evolves throughout the story, alongside Elizabeth. I was worried about some loose ends, but Suzan did it perfectly, leading up to the ending.
And the HEA is so very satisfying!

I will recommend this read highly!

EXCERPT;

I thank “Interests of a Jane Austen Girl” for having me for an exclusive excerpt from The Barrister’s Bride, a newly released novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Here you will find Mr. Wickham has made a call to Elizabeth Bennet in London while Fitzwilliam Darcy, now her betrothed, is at Pemberley for a month before they are wed. This scene is from her point of view.

~~~~

“I suspect you are surprised at my call; however, with so few people in town and so few events at this time of year, I decided that Miss Bennet must be missing out on company as much as I am,” Mr. Wickham said as he stirred his tea.

“To tell the truth, I am not. As a result of lacking those usual entertainments of London, I entertain myself with the children, long walks, and a fair bit of reading. I am content enough on my own.”

“Do you miss Mr. Darcy much?” Was he referring to Mr. George Darcy? The two had been good friends, but Mr. Wickham would know better than to insult her, would he not? He surely referred to her betrothed, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

“I suppose I do, but we exchange letters on a frequent basis. I miss my family in Meryton too, but I keep those relationships alive through letters as well. I spend a prodigious amount of time writing missives to my four sisters, my mama, and Mr. Darcy.”

Just then, a maid called at the door for Mrs. Gardiner, who excused herself for an errand related to one of the children.

“Tell me of your sisters. I only know the one to any extent—Miss Bennet, she was then. I believe she is now Mrs. Bingley.”

“That would be Jane, who is recently wed to Mr. Charles Bingley. They reside at Netherfield Park in Hertfordshire. Of all my sisters, she and I are the closest. Jane is of a gentle disposition, always seeing the best of everyone.”

“She has made a good match with Bingley, then. From what I recall, he was a convivial man.”

She could not have said it better herself. “Yes, you are correct, and he is the perfect husband for Jane. My younger sisters and my mother reside with them. Mary, the next after me, enjoys music and scriptures, Kitty enjoys drawing, and Lydia, the youngest, enjoys dressing bonnets. My aunt in Meryton is a social creature, so they oft-times partake in card parties at her home where they meet other young people, and a regular assembly is held in Meryton for dancing.”

“I recall that you take pleasure in dancing. I am certain it must be a family trait.”

“For all but Mary, who would prefer to remain at home and read scriptures.”

“Ah, singular.”

“I believe that someday she will make a good parson’s wife.”

“’Tis regrettable that my promise in that profession was not fulfilled, else I could court her,” said Mr. Wickham.

He must be making a joke. Otherwise, what was he about? Due to his friendship with Mr. George Darcy, Mr. Wickham was certain to be friends with cards and dice and to live a life not exactly in alignment with what was appropriate for a man of the church—and that was putting it in gracious terms. “I do not believe you and Mary would suit. You are spirited and sociable where Mary is pious and moralizing.”

“I suppose you are correct. I do wonder how different my life would be had I been given the destiny old Mr. Darcy planned for me. He had faith in me, you know.”

A sociable parson without vices would be a boon to the church, and if Mr. Darcy had not influenced his older brother to refuse the privilege their father had left for Mr. Wickham, his life may have been more productive. Perhaps her husband-to-be ought not to have meddled so much. “You have made the best of it.”

“That is the problem. I find myself in a position where I shall soon be low on funds once again. My rent, food, clothing—the lot costs quite a few pence to maintain. I might have to eat pies for dinner instead of frequenting chophouses and move from my suite in Albany to worse lodgings. I know a lady who lets rooms in Edward Street.”

She had no idea of how much these things cost, so she would have to take him at his word that a gentleman’s life in town was expensive, much like a lady’s. “Oh no, that will not do. Can I be of aid?”

“If you can ask Mr. Darcy for another £20, I shall be a bit more comfortable.”

Mr. Darcy had been forthcoming with the money last time. Could she write to him and request a favour for Mr. Wickham? What if the bank draft was lost in the post? “I do not have to ask him. I can give you the funds from my own pin money. You just wait here.” She stood to walk to the door.

Mr. Wickham frowned and placed a hand in the air, palm forward. “No, Miss Bennet, I cannot impose upon you.” He bent his head, massaging his temples. “I am mortified to have put you in this position.” With an earnest expression, he faced her. “Pray, accept my apologies. I shall find the funds somehow.”

This was silly. He was rejecting her offer on the basis that she was a lady and the soon-to-be wife of Fitzwilliam Darcy. She was given more pin money than she required as it was and could not spend it all. This would be her treat to him. “Let me indulge myself in giving you this money. ’Tis nothing to the Darcy coffers as you know.”

Elizabeth hurried to her chambers and pulled her purse from the drawer of her bedside table, withdrawing four £5 notes from within before returning to the drawing room where Mr. Wickham stood with his back to the door, admiring a piece of art. She cleared her throat so she did not startle him. When he twisted his head, she smiled and held out the money. He flushed ever so slightly as he accepted and placed the notes into his own purse.

~~~

AUTHOR BIO;

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, yoga, fitness, home renovation, design, sustainability, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder keeps busy even when she’s not writing novels based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, all of which are published by Meryton Press.

She and Mr. Suze and their rescue tabby split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial casita in Mexico. Suzan’s lively prose can be found on her Facebook author page, Facebook author page; on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest; and on her Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead.

CONTACT INFO;

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest 

Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead 

Buy Info

The Barrister’s Bride may be purchased at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

!!GIVEAWAY!!

Meryton Press is giving away six eBooks of The Barrister’s Bride by Suzan Lauder. There is a swag giveaway by Author, Suzan Lauder, and it includes a personalized signed copy of the book, a Suzan Lauder reticule, an embroidered handkerchief, and a fan. Both giveaways are in the Rafflecopter.  

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b49/?

 That was all for this time, guys! I hope you enjoyed hearing about this new book, I can definitely recommend Suzan and her books.                        

Born to be a Heroine

Hello all! Welcome back! Today I am welcoming an old friend and author, who I have a great deal of respect for, namely Christine Combe! She is releasing a new book and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks! I will hand you over to Christine now. Welcome back, Christine!

Hello everyone! I am so very excited to be returning to Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my latest Austen variation, Born to be a Heroine! Though the title may bring to mind the opening of Northanger Abbey, this is another Pride and Prejudice reimagining — but with Northanger characters thrown in!

I do hope that title intrigues you! Now to further reel you in, I’m going to try something different with this post — a character interview. Thought I’d call on Colonel Fitzwilliam for this little experiment.

CC: Good morning, Colonel. How are you today?

CF: Quite well, thank you. And yourself?

CC: Not too bad, now this book is finished.

CF: I should say! What a merry ride you’ve taken us on this go round.

CC: I hope you’re not disappointed!

CF: Indeed not! I get to spend some time in the country with my cousin Darcy, who’s like a brother to me (more than my own, sometimes); his sweet sister, his very amiable friend Charles Bingley—though I could do without his sisters…

CC: I believe Mr. Bingley has some other guests staying at Netherfield?

CF: Oh yes. Delightful people. A Mr. James Morland and his sister, Miss Catherine Morland, and a Mrs. Allen—who apparently is Bingley’s great aunt, though she’s barely old enough to be his mother.

CC: Well, it is fairly common in your time for an older gentleman to take a much younger wife.

CF: True enough. Though personally, I cannot imagine taking to wife someone young enough to be my daughter.

CC: Nor could I imagine marrying a man old enough to be my father… Now, you said you were not disappointed in your visit to Hertfordshire. You liked Bingley’s house, then, and his neighbors?

CF: Oh yes. I enjoyed meeting some particular acquaintances of my host at a dinner my first night in residence, the Bennet family. They’re good people, though if it’s not too indelicate to say, I think the eldest two of the daughters have the most sense in that bunch. They’re both beauties, as well, which is a bonus for Darcy.

CC: So you mean to set your cousin up with one of them?

CF: No need—he’s already got his eye on Miss Elizabeth, I can tell. And from the way she looks at him, I daresay the young lady has her eye on Darcy!

CC: And what about you, Colonel? Any interest in the eldest Miss Bennet? One of her younger sisters, perhaps? Oh! What about one of Bingley’s sisters, or even Miss Morland?

CF: (laughs) Bingley’s eldest sister is already married, and there’s no way I could attach myself to Miss Bingley, thank you very much! Perhaps she is a good girl at heart, but you wouldn’t know it to listen to her talk. Unlike other sons from wealthy and noble families, I’m not a classist snob; I may have to marry with attention to money—because let’s face it, I’m used to the rich life—but I have the decency to respect those whose station in life is lower than my own. As for the other two ladies, one of them is already spoken for, and the other… well, I wouldn’t mind at all. She’s a delightful girl, and I rather like to make her blush.

CC: Color me intrigued! Which girl is taken and which is the one you like?

CF: Don’t you already know the answer to that? You wrote the book, after all. (winks) In all seriousness, you know I can’t say just now. It would spoil the story for all the readers out there!

CC: You’ve a very good point, sir. Well, our time together is up. Thank you so much for this little chat, Colonel Fitzwilliam. It was lovely to meet you.

CF: (bows and grins) My pleasure, madam.

***

Well now, what do you think of that—was it a good teaser? I certainly hope so! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Sophia for having me.

It was my absolute pleasure, Christine! I can’t wait to read this book! It sounds way too good! I can’t wait to see how Northanger and P&P can be united. Yikes the Colonel certainly knows how to make a reader want to go and buy the book ASAP!

Born to be a Heroine is available in eBook, paperback, and hardcover from Amazon!

***

Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen‘s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.

Links:

Blog: All That They Desire / Facebook: (1) Christine Combe | Facebook

Now, that was all, dear readers! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed hosting Christine, and her new book. I hope you will leave a comment, or follow along on further adventures, I am promising in the near future *winks*

Back to the Bonnet Audiobook in the works!

Hello to all! My friend and an author I have the greatest respect for, is in dire need of help for her dream of her book, “Back to the bonnet” a P&P variation, where Mary Bennet is the star of the book – can become reality! I will leave you in Jennifer’s hands for now, and let her explain what is needed.

Calling all Janeites! Can you help make this author’s audiobook dream a reality?

Back in 2020, author Jennifer Duke self-published her first novel, Back to the Bonnet, a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice in which Mary Bennet orchestrates events with the help of a time-travelling bonnet. Now she’s hoping to turn her novel into an audiobook read by Lucy Briers who played Mary Bennet in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.

Jennifer: Back to the Bonnet had been some time in the making and, as most writers have to do when starting out, I invested a lot of time and money into creating the final book and I did this whilst working in childcare and housekeeping jobs, as well as navigating lockdown like most of the rest of the world. Being new to the publishing and marketing side of things, about which I still have much to learn, and being self-published rather than having the backing of a traditional publisher, sales have been on the slow side, though I’m grateful for some lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

I felt particularly encouraged after actress Lucy Briers got in touch with me via Twitter, having enjoyed Back to the Bonnet, to say that if it were to be made into an audiobook some day, she’d love to narrate it. This was so lovely to hear, though it wasn’t until more recently that I seriously thought I could make this happen. Now I have a team of women who are enthusiastic about creating the audiobook – Lucy Briers as narrator (which is so fitting as the novel is written in first person, it’s Mary Bennet’s narrative), Tamsin Collison as audiobook director (she directed a fairly recent version of Mansfield Park for Audible) and talented sound editor Tshari King.

All I have to do now is raise the funds for the production costs including the fees for these amazingly talented women, then it will get the green light. To do this, I’ve set up a Go Fund Me page in hopes of gaining financial help from people who wish to support the project. If you’re reading this and thinking that you like the idea behind this audiobook and that you might be able to make a donation, however small, to contribute to its manifestation, please know that I would be so grateful for your help. I’m not in a position to do this on my own and so I would be hugely appreciative of having my fellow Austen fans in my corner!

If I happen to raise more than the required amount for this project, I will be donating additional funds to TreeSisters, a UK registered charity that plants trees in the tropics. I’m hoping to fund the planing of 1000 trees. Together I believe we can create beautiful things.

You can find out more about donating to this crowdfunding project here:

Go Fund Me page: https://gofund.me/fb1142d3

Jennifer Duke’s website: https://www.jennifer-duke.com/

Email: contact@jennifer-duke.com

The Titanic Sinking – 110 years later

The Titanic Sinking – 110 years later

Just last night, April 15th, I realised that it was the 110th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the most famous shipwreck in modern history.

The ship’s journey that started in Southampton, had a stop in Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland and then started on the final leg of its fateful journey towards New York.

After watching the movie, for the millionth time or so, with many a choked up moment and definitely a tear or two fallen, my heart still broke from the knowledge that fifteen hundred people lost their lives on this amazing, if sadly doomed ship line.

Something which is little known, is that there was several Dane’s onboard the ship, mostly on third and second class, though there was one steward who also was Scandinavian.

In Cherbourg, quite a famous passenger came onboard, namely Molly Brown, – the known philanthropist, a woman who became ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ after the sinking, and she even had a musical based on her life on Broadway in the 1960s.

Though already before Titanic left Southampton, there was several incidents, one was a fire in one of coal chambers, and one was a near coalition of one of the smaller ships in the harbour in Southampton. Finally, after their two stops on the journey, Titanic finally steamed out on the Atlantic, and yet already on the 12th of April, the ship received the first ice warnings, one of many between the Thursday and Saturday. The captain changed the route a bit, to avoid the ice fields. The last known ice warning arrived about forty-five minutes before the coalition with the iceberg.

The wreck left fifteen hundred people in the icy waters, and seven hundred people in the sixteen lifeboats, all waiting to be saved or for absolution.

Titanic was sadly also the second major accident within the White Star Line company. The first being Olympic, who had a coalition with a war ship in 1911, it survived and was dragged into port. Later on, in 1916, it was Britannic which went down in the Aegean Sea, – sunk by a German mine.

It seems to me, like WSL was either extremely unlucky or maybe their ships truly had some building issues.

The 1997 movie is personally my favourite, the acting is brilliant, the scenes are amazing, considering they only built half the ship for the movie. Kate and Leo was so convincing as their roles, and there’s quite a bit of symbolism within the movie. In the beginning we see Rose, perfect young woman, hair up, perfectly dressed. But as we follow her within the plot, we see changes, – first to her character, then her clothes becomes more fluid and loose and then finally her hair comes down. The loose hair, in my opinion, is a sign of her rebellion from what her mother has imprinted on her; her duty to marry well, – and with her hair down, she shows who she truly is and what she desires. But again, it’s only my opinion.

From the many books and documentaries I have read and seen, in the many years where my interest has been Titanic, – the ship also became a symbol of the future, the old world which was rapidly disappearing in the mists, and rapidly changing world of tomorrow which was dawning.

So much have changed since that fateful night on the Atlantic, and sadly the world also have seen the death of the last survivor of Titanic back in 2009. The world has seen two world wars, an industrial revolution and a world which is evermore ruled by technology. White Star Line is also just a memory, they were forced to merger with the Cunard line.

I, personally, hope that one day that we find out what truly happened in those fateful last moments of the ship’s life in the world above the sea. I also hope that the many souls lost, and the people left behind has found peace with what happened in the early morning of April 15th, 1912.

We have to remember Jack’s famous words at the dinner in first class. “To make each day count.” Jack Dawson, Titanic (Movie; 1997)

Death of a Dandy by Riana Everly

Welcome back to my desk; Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, and today I am glad to welcome back a dear friend and returning author with yet another thrilling murder mystery with our beloved Riana Everly and Miss Mary Bennet. I will leave you all in Miss Everly’s capable hands. Enjoy and welcome back, Riana!

BLURB;

The worlds of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park meet when Mary Bennet lands in the middle of her third adventure with handsome investigator Alexander Lyons.

The two friends are travelling back to Mary’s home after a visit to the Darcy family at Pemberley when their journey is interrupted by the news that Tom Bertram, the heir to Mansfield Park, has disappeared. Alexander is asked to take the case, and he and Mary find themselves as guests at the estate. The house is abuzz with activity as plans go ahead for a fox hunt and the performance of a play, and Mary sees intrigue in every interaction between the beautiful residents of Mansfield Park and their sophisticated guests.

When the hunt ends in tragedy with the discovery of a body, Alexander’s involvement grows even deeper, but every clue leads to even more questions. The more Alexander digs, the more it seems this death might involve people much higher up than he can reach. And the biggest question of all is who, exactly, was the intended victim of what is surely murder most foul?

Mary and Alexander find themselves hard at work to unravel a web of secrets and dark goings-on that enshroud the elegant estate of Mansfield Park. But Alexander is hiding a secret of his own, one which he knows will forever doom any possible future for him and Mary.

Will they solve the mystery before somebody else dies? And will any hearts remain unbroken if they succeed?

PICTURE TOUR OF NORTHAMPTONSHIRE;

Thanks so much to Sophia for hosting me here today as I continue my blog tour for my new novel. Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery is the third book in the Miss Mary Investigates series. If you enjoy some mystery with your Austen, please check it out!

One of the things I’m enjoying so much as I write this series is discovering new parts of England. Each novel in the series is set in the world of one of Austen’s books, and her novels each take place in a different part of the country. I haven’t been able to travel in person for the last couple of years, but I can travel through photographs. As I’ve researched each novel, I’ve pored through pages and pages of beautiful pictures of the different regions, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve found today. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can return to England and take my own photographs.

The fictional estate of Mansfield Park is in Northamptonshire, and that is where my story takes place. Part of the action happens on the estate itself, but other parts are set in Northampton itself, or other villages in the area. At the beginning of the story, Mary and Alexander are breaking a journey at the home of one of Alexander’s friends, who lives in Northampton. It is a place I have not yet visited, but I definitely hope to do so as soon as possible.

This is the church in the centre of the town, where Mary goes at one point. All Saints Church was originally a Medieval place of worship that burned to the ground during the great fire of 1675. It was rebuilt and was consecrated in 1680.

Here is the interior, which Mary enjoyed seeing so much.

Mansfield Park itself is a fictional place, but I found some fabulous estates in the area which might well have been its inspiration, and I based the location and general appearance of the estate on Castle Ashby House, one of the seats of the Marquess of Northampton. It lies about 8 miles, or 13km, east of Northampton, and is certainly grand enough for the Bertrams. The building dates from the Middle Ages, but the current structure saw significant expansion and improvements in the Elizabethan era, and a Palladian section enclosing the front courtyard was added in the 18th century.

This is a drawing from Jones’ Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (1819), showing the house as Mary would have seen it.

Here is the house as it looks today. It is not open to the public, but parts can be rented for events like weddings. Can’t you just imagine Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford strolling across those lawns?

At one point in their investigations, Mary and Alexander find themselves in the village of Yardley Hastings, which is about 3 miles (5km) from “Mansfield Park.” I wouldn’t mind sitting in a pub in this lovely little town!

Part of my research led me into the fascinating world of canals… or at least, fascinating to a history geek like me! I have a whole separate blog post on canals, so I won’t go into details here, but they do show up in a very minor way in my novel. Here is a picture of the Grand Union Canal, which runs from London to Birmingham, with an arm to Northampton. It looks so bucolic now, but at one time it was one of the arteries of English trade and transportation.

Finally, here are just a few more pictures of the lovely towns and landscape that make up Northamptonshire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short photo tour of Northamptonshire. Now that you’ve seen a bit for yourself, I’ll leave you with an excerpt with Mary and Alexander’s impressions.

 * * *

From Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery

Edmund Bertram’s carriage rolled down the long tree-lined drive and came to a stop before the imposing portico that guarded the massive front doors to the great country house of Mansfield Park. From the direction of the lane, which ran as straight as any Roman road, and through the curtained windows of the carriage, Mary had enjoyed little view of where they were going. The distance of eight or nine miles had been completed in about an hour, with Mansfield’s team of fine horses pulling them along apace, and the scenery that had been available to Mary’s eyes was lovely, even in the browning days of mid-October. But of the house itself, she had mere glimpses until the horses ceased their toil and the carriage door was flung open. Edmund murmured a word to them, then leapt from the conveyance and bounded down the stairs to command a servant to alert the housekeeper about his guests, leaving Alexander to hand Mary down from the coach. She allowed her hand to rest in his for a moment after she achieved the ground, taking confidence from his reassuring touch.

At last, she allowed her eyes to take in the grandeur that was Mansfield Park. She had thought Pemberley grand, and in many ways it was a more impressive building than was the building before her. But where Pemberley nestled into its environs, a natural outgrowth of the surrounding topography and as much an organic part of the landscape as the very trees that clung to the rocky hills, Mansfield Park seemed imposed upon the ground on which it sat. It spoke not so much of belonging to the land, as of the land belonging to it.

  * * *

Alexander looked about in interest as the curricle approached their next destination. Yardley Hastings was a larger and busier village than the collection of cottages they had just now left, being situated along the Bedford Road. Likewise, the White Gryphon was larger and busier than the Cock, although it, too, was made of stone and sported a thatched roof. Inside, the public rooms were quiet, most of last night’s guests having already started their day’s journeys and tonight’s still far away, but there were one to two folk still sitting at their tables, either taking a late tea and bread, or an early ale.

Alexander offered to see to the horses and the curricle, allowing Edmund to step inside to request a short interview with Mr. Watts, whom he knew somewhat. Yardley Hastings was not the primary town that supplied the day-to-day needs of Mansfield Park, but it was close enough that the residents of one were not strangers to the residents of the other. Mary accompanied Edmund.

Alexander quickly found a groom to take care of the vehicle and horses, and stepped inside just in time to see Mr. Watts greet Edmund with the deference due his status. The speculative eye he cast upon Mary, however, was less honourable. Alexander could almost hear the innkeeper wondering what a young woman was doing with a single man in an inn, with no visible chaperone. To his credit, Edmund’s back stiffened as he noted the innkeeper’s curious interest in the young woman. “Miss Bennet,” the gentleman acted to forestall any rumours, “allow me to present to you Mr. Watts, who runs this fine establishment. He has excellent pies and lemon tarts. Watts, this is Miss Bennet, a guest at Mansfield Park and the associate of… ah, here he is now. My friend, Mr. Lyons.”

Well that does sound interesting! I am already shaking with anticipation over who are killed and who will be next! I wonder what Mary and Alexander will discover at Mansfield Park! I hope you enjoyed the journey along Northamptonshire from Riana’s wonderful pictures, and hopefully wil get your hands on this the next installement of the Murder Mystery series with Miss Mary.

AUTHOR BIO;

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana’s blog at https://rianaeverly.com/blog/, and join her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/) and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!

And Now finally, the giveaway time!

!GIVEAWAY!

I am delighted to be giving away five eBooks internationally of Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery. I have set up a Rafflecopter draw, but for anybody who cannot use the link, please email me your name and preferred email address and I will add you manually to the list for the draw. My email is riana.everly@gmail.com
Good luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/49aa98597/?

And of course, Riana can be reached on these platforms;

CONTACT;

Website: https://rianaeverly.com/

Blog: https://rianaeverly.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/

Twitter https://twitter.com/RianaEverly

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Riana-Everly/e/B076C6HY27